# Guidelines for creating/designing an exam?

Are there (general) guidelines for creating an exam? I am a TA, and one of my tasks is it to design a written exam for the students. The students know that it will be based on one book, and on which chapters. I am using the questions after the chapters as guideline (and modify them). Course theme is (from nature science) derivation of formulae (which are also done in the book) and calculation of values by using formulae from the book.

Now my problem is: How many points should I award to which part? The students can choose between either using a hand-written cheat sheet or nothing. In the first case the formulas will not be awarded with points, in the latter they will. But I am not sure how much points I should give to a specific formula. 1 Point, if correct, 0, if not? 5, if completely correct, 2.5, if partly correct, 0, if not?
Thus, is there a general way of doing that, or do I have to experiment with it?

## 1 Answer

In education, it is normally advisable to develop assessment prior to teaching. This allows the teacher to be sure that he or she is teaching to the assessment that they designed. When the assessment is made after teaching there is a risk that you will assess things you did not cover thoroughly or even assess things you never taught. Many scoff at this but it is common.

In terms of how much weight to give to various sections, this again is base on what you consider most important. Skills that are more important for students to show mastery should be worth more and lesser skills should be worth less. This is a modified application of bull's eye curriculum.

Lastly,all students should face the same conditions during the assessment. This means everyone has a cheat sheet and their formulas are marked or no one. If the conditions are different you cannot compare the results of one student to another, unless you are conducting an experiment and want to see if a cheat sheet makes a difference. If you can't compare results it is difficult to know who learned something and who didn't